On To The Next…

You’ll have noticed that since the UK System Open (which now a month behind us) I’ve been writing ONLY about that weekend. 4 blog posts are what I feel was needed to really do the event justice with any kind of detail with 11 games being played over 2 days.

So what have I been doing for the last month? Well, I’ll tell you.

Just so you’ve got fair warning, this is 3/4 weeks worth of games and thoughts. It’s long. Sorry.

Long post alert!

Part 1 – The Post-Mortem

I came back from Milton Keynes feeling slightly dejected if I’m honest, a little disappointed in myself for not winning more games. This then made me slightly MORE disappointed since I had clearly put pressure and expectations on myself that I had been determined not to. As a result I’d been a little bit undecided as to what I do next.

On one hand I was ready to drop the list (and abandon Hyperspace completely) and find something fun to play.

On the other, as I’ve mentioned before, I had since signed up to store championship events at Cardiff and Newport Firestorm. Both of which are Hyperspace and the first of which (at Firestorm Cardiff) was just over a month away.

Best to stick with hyperspace and put some reps in I suppose.

But this leads to a question. Do I keep the same list? Maybe I’d best review what happened and how I feel about it.

Braylen Stramm (52)
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Ten Numb (48)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Luke Skywalker (62)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 62 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 3

Jake Farrell (36)
Ship total: 36 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z73XWWWWWWY74XWWWWWW313Y4XWWWW142Y50XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

I felt like I had gotten used to how the list worked and how to fly it (and how not to). That’s said I’d found that I was putting Luke in trouble when I probably shouldn’t have just because I can’t bear to have a 3 dice, always modded gun not doing any (or much) work. I know it’s short sighted, I know. But I feel like having an ‘ace’ (which Luke isn’t really, not in the strictest sense, but you know what I mean) to protect until the end game really isn’t my style. Not only that but when he was getting shot I found that those 2 green dice were not playing ball as often as I’d like and, despite hearing much about how tanky (JARGON ALERT!!) Luke is/can be, my experience was turning out to be quite different. Or maybe that’s just how it felt? I dunno.

Moving on, It turns out that I quite like B-wings. Yes, they can burn down fast with just 1 agility but you know that when you pick them. It’s relatively easy to get Ten and Braylen double modded quite often and you have options for single mods even when threatened with blocks (white/red moves to keep/gain stress). Debris are also handy for this. Having barely played B-Wings at all they were certainly growing on me. Especially Braylen and Ten.

What about the last piece? What about Jake? Well, again I’m slightly underwhelmed. Having experienced first hand how tanky he can be, I’ve more recently experienced the other end of that scale, losing him far too easily when the green dice crap out. A range 3 pot shot from Kylo taking him out to deny a return shot on day 1 at Milton Keynes was particularly irritating, especially given that the B-Wings failed to put damage onto the target I had been pointing him at. But still, the ability is good and I’m generally improving in getting the use out of it.

So with all that in mind I adjusted the list. I took out Luke and replaced him with Dutch in a Y-Wing. I’ve flown a LOT of Y-Wings so I’m comfortable with them and Dutch’s ability is always useful. This makes everyone initiative 4 and allows for a sprinkling of upgrades. I put an Ion turret and R3 astromech on Dutch, Outmanoeuvre on Jake and took the list along to game night to try it out.

Braylen Stramm (52)
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Ten Numb (48)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Jake Farrell (36)
Outmaneuver (6)

Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

“Dutch” Vander (40)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
R3 Astromech (3)

Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Total: 192

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z73XWWWWWWY74XWWWWWW313Y50X126WWY27XW138WW4WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Now, in fairness I came up against Luke, one of the top players at the club and himself looking at Hyperspace lists. I’m not going to go full batrep (JARGON ALERT!!) because there’s just too much to cover.

So here’s the super short version – I got thrashed.

From the pictured position I lost Dutch (having been worn down a bit the turn before) and took a very significant hit on Braylen (who had been blocked and then having Kylo do Kylo things to get where he was) having done just 1 damage to Luke’s list. We were only 30 minutes in but, hoping to get another game in, I conceded at this point, not seeing any way back. Not my finest X-Wing moment and mostly borne out of frustration.

While chatting afterwards Luke asked if I had everything needed to play 5 T-65’s, that it’s pretty much ‘back to basics’ X-Wing and might be worth looking at. Feeling rather disillusioned with myself and my recent lists I decided to give it a go.

It turns out that finding an image of 5 X-Wings online is quite tricky. So here’s 6.

Part 2 – A New Direction

I checked through my stuff and found I was a few items short of fielding a 5 x T-65 list but I still wanted to give it a try. I loaded the list up in Fly Casual and played a couple of games with it. Not bad.

Half term had rolled around and I’d finished work a bit early so we set up the table at home so that both Cai and I could try out some new lists. Luke had advised him on a list too – Vader and 6 Academy Pilots, and he wanted to give it a go.

We set up forces and I thought I’d try something out. I spread out my X-Wings across my side of the board, intending to slow roll some and fast flank with others and get some TIEs off the board quickly.

That is not what went down.

Long story short, I managed to destroy 1 TIE fighter before my last ship was blown up.

Ouch.

One after another they all went BOOM

I now felt like I was on a pretty poor streak. Starting from the System Open I had now lost 11 of my last 13 games. Feels bad.

But what to do about it?

I decided to persevere. The internet would have the answer. I looked up streamed games of people playing ‘5 X’ against various different lists. Not all games were wins but, for the most part, if you’re on stream then you’ve probably won some games already, especially at bigger events. These would be people who know what they’re doing. So I watched. Looked at what other people were doing with their T-65’s so I could better understand what to do.

Armed with new information I packed what I had of the list (and borrowed/proxied what I didn’t) and headed down to game night. Again, no full batrep for the sake of time (for you and for me!).

I paired up with Russell who was flying Holo, 2 S/F’s and an F/O. This time I lined up in formation and bided my time as Russ flanked with Holo and baited with the S/F’s.

I turned in on Holo, getting 4 arcs onto him and wiped him out in exchange for just 2 shields on 1 T-65.

Holo is sad.

When time ran out I had lost 3 shields in total and only one First Order ship remained. It was brutal.

By Russell’s own admission he hadn’t flown well and some poor dice rolls had compounded the situation. Still, the 5 X’s had shown their value in a real game. Probably worth another go.

Part 3 – Perseverance and change

Just one more game night to cover but this time we had enough time to get 2 games in. Again, for time, I will keep it brief! I got the T-65’s out and lined up against Josh and his Republic list of 3 ARC-170’s and Broadside.

Where NOT to park an ARC-170. Yes, it died.

Again I approached in formation and my first roll of red dice gave me 3 crits out of hand and, it seemed, gave an indication of how the game would go. As the game progressed all 4 of Josh’s ships were removed from the board in 6 engagements. In exchange I lost 4 shields across 3 T-65’s and we finished with 20 minutes left on the clock. Again, brutal.

Very worthy of taking a photo. Who needs mods, right?

For an interesting change of pace (and to stay fresh) I put the X-Wings away and got Dash out for the second game (also against Josh) for a bit more fun and nonsense. I won’t expand on that game here but I do want to talk about the list and the game at some point (especially as Josh played some pilots that I’ve never faced before) so I’ll just put a pin in it for now. Until then though, here’s a teaser pic…

So much nonsense happening here…

Part 4 – The questions

So, ‘5 X’ then. It’s a proven, tried and tested list and, while it’s not exactly ‘Boba & Fenn’ level of big bad, it’s a widely recognised archetype with some level of success. In my opinion it leans on variance rather more heavily than I’d like but the sheer number of red dice you roll means you’re usually in with a chance of wiping something out. I’ve got a feel for it and it appears to perform rather better than what I took to they System Open, although, in my local meta at least, I had done pretty well with that before going too.

But here’s the thing, I feel a little conflicted.

To my mind there are three basic options you have when it comes to a tournament and what list you take:

  1. Take what you love and don’t care about results
  2. Take a list you know SUPER well that might catch people off guard.
  3. Take a strong meta list

My preference would be options 1 or 2 and yet, with such huge restrictions in Hyperspace (for option 1) and changes likely at the next points update (making option 2 potentially quite short lived) I find myself at option 3.

If some choices are clearly wrong, it is even still a choice?

Do I WANT to be a special snowflake with my janky (JARGON ALERT!!) list?
Yes I do actually. I want to have fun and do silly things like removing stress when flying over debris and double modding 4 dice shots. I don’t overly care whether it’s amazing all the time because when it DOES work, it’s spectacular and I love that.

Do I want to play ships I like?
Yes I do but, unless I don’t mind losing all my games, I should be practising with a Hyperspace list rather than mucking about with Extended since the next 2 events I’m attending are using that format.

I guess this all leads me to the question – am I taking this too seriously?
Maybe. Maybe I am. I want to go and have a fun day of playing X-Wing with my son and some friends. Maybe it shouldn’t matter if I lose all my games but a small part of me keeps thinking – just keep it respectable. Don’t get smashed every game. Try and get at least one win.

What’s my conclusion in all this? Well, I guess I’m taking ‘5 X’ to Cardiff and Newport Store Champs since I’m not happy with other options and Cardiff is just 11 days away now. But it seems my real conclusion is that I can’t wait for Extended to come back. I want to go to tournaments because it’s a chance to sharpen myself, to get lots of games in and to spend time with people. I also want to enjoy what I fly. Not that I don’t enjoy the 5 X, I just don’t enjoy it as much as a YT-2400 with lots of tricks. All that said, flying X-Wings in a game called X-Wing feels nice, even if just for a little while.

So I think for now, I’m pretty ok with what I’ve got and what I’m doing with it but with one eye on the future.

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